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Archived updates for Thursday, July 14, 2005

European Commission Proposes New I/P Directive

On 12 July 2005, the European Commission proposed a new directive on "criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights." Under the proposed directive, all intentional infringements of an intellectual property right on a commercial scale, and attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting such infringements are treated as criminal offences. The proposal for a framework decision also sets a threshold for criminal penalties including at least four years' imprisonment if the offence involves a criminal organisation or if it jeopardises public health and safety. The applicable fine must be at least EUR 100 000 to EUR 300 000 for cases involving criminal organisations or posing a risk to public health and safety. However, the proposal allows Member States to apply tougher penalties.

According to the press release by the EC, "the Commission hopes that this clear political signal reflecting the determination to combat piracy and counterfeiting will be supported by concerted, long-term information campaigns by national and regional authorities and other interested parties to raise awareness, not only among key players in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy but also amongst the wider public as a whole."

Click here for a primer on European Union law.
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